Abies delavayi Franch. (SW China: W Yunnan, SE Xizang [Tibet]; NE India: Arunachal Pradesh; N Myanmar [Burma] as per Catalogue of Life)




Abies densa Griff. (E. Nepal to SE. Tibet and N. Assam as per WCSP)





Abies pindrow (Royle ex D.Don) Royle (Mountains from Afghanistan east to Nepal, Karakoram Range in Pakistan as per Catalogue of Life)

Abies gamblei  syn. of Abies pindrow var. brevifolia Dallim. & A.B.Jacks.(left) and Abies pindrow (right) 




Abies pindrow 












Abies spectabilis (D.Don) Mirb. (Afghanistan: Hindu Kush; Pakistan: Karakoram Range; China: W Xizang [Tibet]; India: Kashmir Himalaya; Nepal as per Catalogue of Life) (Abies spectabilis, the ‘high altitude Himalayan Fir’, commonly known as ‘Kala Tosh’ or ‘Kalonta’, has shorter needles, arranged in whorls.

It naturally occurs at higher elevations than A. pindrow and usually forms the tree line)

Abies sibirica (left) and Abies spectabilis (right)


As per efi thread :

In view of the fact that A. gamblei (which has been mostly treated as synonym of A. pindrow) is a distinct taxon whether you call it A. pindrow at species rank (book on World conifers) or A. pindrow var. brevifolia (Rehder, Manual of Cultivated Plants), or A. pindrow subsp. gamblei (established in 1999), also realising the fact A. densa (E. Himalayan) mostly treated under A. spectabilis earlier, and 2010 publication of A. pseudochensiensis (which was distributed in in Botanical gardens under the name A. gamblei or A. pindrow var. brevifolia-both W. Himalayan, or even A. chensiensis- a Chinese species), and important statement in this recent book that A. spectabilis is restricted to Central Himalayas, we should keep our options open to know exact identity and distribution of West Himalayan Abies species. I am trying to develop a simple key but when identifying for possible occurrence A. spectabilis in Western Himalayas the following features should be confirmed (let us for some time forget the confusion caused in Indian Floras and Books due to incomplete understanding of synonyms):

1. A. gamblei Hick., 1929 (A. pindrow var. brevifolia Dallimore and Jackson, 1923; A. pindrow subsp. gamblei subsp. gamblei (Hick.) Rushforth, 1999: Branchlets initially yellowish-gray, maturing grey (needs confirmation since Rehder, 1940 mentions branches reddish brown), leaves smaller 2-3.5 cm long, radially outspreading, flat with stoma lines on upper surface; cones gray-blue to purplish, 6-10 cm long, bracts hidden, alt. 3000-3500 m, W. Himal.
2. A. densa: Branchlets gray-yellow, leaves radially spreading or ascending in upper side of branches, in two rows on under side, 2-4.5 cm long, two white lines on under side, needle margins recurved; cones 8-10 cm long, black-purple, cone bracts slightly emerging with cuspidate apex. Eastern Himalayas.
3. A. pindrow: Bark smooth and gray in young trees, grayish-brown in old; Branchlet smooth and gray, glabrous; leaves outspreading in two rows (pectinate-comb-like), down-curved, forward-directed, 3-6 cm long, gray bands beneath; fertile branches almost smooth, white; cones 10-15 cm long, deep purple, bracts hidden, scales 3 cm broad.
4. A. spectabilis: Branches conspicuously furrowed, yellowish-brown, often brown hairy; leaves 3-6 cm long, pectinately arranged in 2-3 rows especially on fertile and upper branches, upcurved to form a wide “V”, white bands beneath; cones 15-20 cm long, violet-purple, bracts hidden or slightly emerging, scales 1-5-2 cm broad. Central Himalayas..
5. A. pseudochensiensis Debreczy (syn. of Abies pindrow var. brevifolia): I am trying to procure (any member can help).


Species with description & keys in Flora of Pakistan :